Parenting Styles in Immigrant, Multigenerational Chinese Canadian Families
Shih, Cynthia Sing-Yu
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Chinese Canadian (CC) families are increasingly living in multi-generational households, often with grandparents who assist in child caregiving. CC families experience multiple changes both prior to and after resettlement in Canada that can shape their parenting styles and beliefs. Fifty-seven CC and European Canadian (EC) (n = 27) mother-child dyads participated in a play interaction, child cognitive assessment, parent interview, and parent questionnaires to examine parenting styles, child outcomes, maternal sensitivity, and parenting stress. Parenting in CC families, when framed within a bioecological model that accounts for the micro-systemic, cultural, and sociopolitical influences, was more similar to parenting in EC families and incorporated more permissive styles of parenting than previously believed. CC mothers attributed indulgent parenting styles in part to newer preferred parenting practices in China, as well as their desire to parent differently from their own upbringing. So-called Chinese parenting style was associated with negative child outcomes in EC and CC families. There were significant relationships between parenting stress and all reported parenting styles. CC mothers described the cultural continuities and discontinuities that contributed to the multi-generational family dynamics within their homes, including their desire to raise their Canadian-born children with Canadian parenting approaches. To support the continuity of Chinese cultural traditions and practices, many CC parents sought the involvement of co-residing grandparents in child rearing. Implications for clinical parenting interventions targeted to CC families, and immigration policies used by multi-generational immigrant families are discussed. Future research on the relationship between parenting stress and parenting styles, as well as the measurement of maternal sensitivity in CC families is recommended.